Rainie Codding and the cousin duo of Bella and Lydia Evans shot their tournament personal records and The Dalles girls golf squad combined for a season-best 425 to finish in seventh place at Friday’s Eagle Crest Invitational in Redmond.
“In the midst of what felt like an arctic day at Eagle Crest, these ladies left everything they had on the course and never gave up,” TD head coach Amy Wilson said. “What I noticed in each girl was a consistently great attitude. I will never get tired of saying how proud I am of each one of these amazing young women.”
Following last month’s fourth-place finish at the TD Riverhawk Invitational, Codding cut seven strokes from her totals with a 96 for a top-15 outcome.
On the way home from Redmond, Wilson said she asked the five varsity golfers if they felt they approached this league tournament differently, and Codding was a perfect example of an athlete who demands more from her game.
“She’s been working hard on finding her rhythm and she felt she found it and applied it today to shoot her personal tournament record,” Wilson said of Codding.
Samantha Stansbury carded a 52 on the front-nine and then went for a 51 on the back half to end up at 103, a seven-stroke improvement.
Lydia Evans displayed a 15-stroke drop with her 113, as she posted a 52 on the front-nine, and Eliana Ortega managed a 53 on the front nine and a 60 on the back-nine, shaving 13 strokes off her first tournament score of 126 on March 19 to wind up at 113. Bella Evans shot a 60 on both ends of her 18 holes to reel off a 120.
“Samantha focused on just one mechanic she has been working on rather than thinking of a basket full of things. She came out with a 113 and felt her short chips were her strength,” Wilson said. “Bella also shot her personal record and she just went out, played her own game, kept a positive, forward-thinking attitude and got it done.”
The Riverhawk scores boosted them to seventh place out of 15 teams, ahead of Bend (427), Mountain View (456), and Crook County (480).
Making up the top of the team standings were Valley Catholic (348), Woodburn (369), Pendleton (382), Summit (401), Redmond (409), and Ridgeview (417).
St. Mary’s standout Baylee Hammericksen lapped the field with her three-under par 69, besting Summit’s Olivia Loberg, who carded a solid 73.
Challin Kim, of Valley Catholic, and Blanchet’s Katie Goodwin wound up tied for third place with their 77s; Paris Wilhelm, of Woodburn, posted an 82 to secure fifth place; and Bend’s Bailee Carpenter had an 85 for sixth place.
Annmarie Gallardo (Valley Catholic) and Megan George (Pendleton) each shot an 89 for an eighth-place deadlock, and the quartet of Bailey Woolley (Woodburn), Megan Birrell (Valley Catholic), Natalie Roth (Valley Catholic), and Rylee Harris (Pendleton) each carded a 91 to notch a tie for 10th place in the individual standings.
Wilson said that the team’s practices are very focused, every day, with each player having a specific objective for that day, which builds their individual games.
As a whole, they believe in progress, not perfection, and this approach to the game makes practicing manageable and keeps it fun.
Seeing Lydia Evans take a major step forward is all the proof Wilson needs.
“She made a conscious decision to react differently to a shot she did not like,” Wilson said. “Rather than letting it get her frustrated, she took what she has learned to assess what happened and how to fix it on the next shot. She said this was the most fun she has ever had in a tournament. Her positive approach led her to shoot her personal record.”
TD will continue to hit the grindstone ahead of its next tournament, scheduled for 9 a.m. on Monday, April 15 at Meadow Lakes, which means that extra time will be beneficial for this group, especially Ortega, one of last season’s top performers.
“Eliana feels a lot more comfortable with all of her clubs this year, but being the strong competitor that she is, she also feels she has a lot more improvement in her,” Wilson said. “She said ‘we all have been practicing hard and improving quickly, which isn’t any different than what we’ve normally done.’”